DEAR ABBY: I need your advice. My mother wants to live with me. I'm 56. She's 78. My household now includes my husband, my unmarried daughter and her son, who is 6 years old.
My mother is in great condition. Her main problem is that she's a hypochondriac and is lonely. She would be miserable living with us, but I can't convince her. She wants to sell her condo, help us buy a bigger home and move in. I've countered that if she ever becomes ill and unable to take care of herself, we could buy a duplex.
Abby, I cannot live with my mother and I don't want to live with her. She wants her own room in the same house, no duplex. I can't even describe the dread this is causing me.
I do not like her. If she were not my mother, I couldn't even be friends with her; I would avoid her. She's extremely self-centered, controlling, overcritical and rude, with an opinion on everything. She's been married and divorced many times, and she has no friends. She turns every conversation on any topic back to herself.
Mother knows that I do not want her to live with us, but she's pushing. She knows that I hate it when she drops in on me unannounced early in the morning, but she does it anyway, saying, "I know this drives you crazy, but ..."
If my daughter or I plan to meet Mother at a restaurant for a noon lunch, she shows up at the house at 10 a.m. to wait for us.
When Mother eats with us at home every week, she samples the food and makes comments like she's the food critic for The New York Times.
I could write pages about her annoying habits. What can I do, Abby? Please help me. -- STRESSED DAUGHTER IN FLORIDA
DEAR STRESSED DAUGHTER: If you want my support, you have it. Do not allow yourself to be pushed into residency with your mother and don't feel guilty about it. Your mother may want to be a bigger part of your lives, but it could harm your marriage if you bow to her demands. Stand firm and enlist your husband to present a united front.
DEAR ABBY: My wedding was called off a month ago. I understand now that God is trying to fix some things in my life before he allows me to take such a big step.
I'm a very insecure person. It is hard for me to trust -- and that caused me many problems in our relationship. However, I am around my "ex" every day. We have the same friends. We broke up with the understanding that we would remain friends.
Abby, my ex-fiance deals with things by avoiding a confrontation. At the moment, he isn't speaking to me, which makes me feel sick at heart. I know he's hurting, too. I want nothing but to be there for him. I don't want to crowd him or make him think I'm chasing him. How do I deal with his ignoring me? -- AMY IN RURAL ILLINOIS
DEAR AMY: It may be difficult to distance yourself from your ex-fiance in your small town, but it would be a happier situation for both of you if you stayed out of each other's sight for a while. It has only been a month since your engagement ended and you are both hurting. Breaking up is painful. Although you would like to continue the friendship as if nothing had happened, your "ex" is trying to put the romance behind him by avoiding you. Give it some time, Amy. Life will get better.
DEAR ABBY: After the death of a spouse, how long should a person wait before starting to date again? -- DOTTIE IN MICHIGAN
DEAR DOTTIE: The usual period of mourning is one year. However, grief is such a personal emotion that no one can presume to make rules that will apply to everyone.
Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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